Miller and Begich in Dead Heat According Facebook Modeling Used to Predict Election Outcomes

Photo Credit: InTheCapital

Photo Credit: InTheCapital

Thanks to Facebook’s prominence (there are over 128 million active monthly users in the U.S.) it has become the perfect sample pool for researchers conducting large scale studies. Particularly the social media platform has given political strategists a fascinating glimpse on how political campaigns are being perceived in real time, as well as the ability to predict election outcomes with startling accuracy. Campaigns themselves are also starting to better understand this correlation, with 12 percent of campaign communication budgets going to social media in 2012. So what is Facebook so far telling us about the critical 2014 elections?

In a piece published by POLITICO Magazine, Ph.D. candidates Matthew MacWilliams and Edward Erickson, along with research assistant Nicole Berns, took a look at what Facebook reveals about the political changes to come in 2014. These scholars studied three major variables to make their predictions. First, the growth of a candidate’s fan base, measured by the number of “likes” over time on their page. Next they look at the growth of engagement, measured by the shares and comments on the candidates content that users share with their friends. Lastly, they divide these two factors to discover the candidate’s effectiveness in mobilizing voters, by seeing how many of those that “like” the candidate actually engage with others about it.

Based on this formula, the researchers predicted the outcome of four Senate races in 2014, taking place in North Carolina, Alaska, Kentucky and Michigan, and conclude that the Republicans will likely pick up a seat this year…

The big upset could happen in Alaska, where this Facebook model has incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich dead even with both of his Republican challengers, Joe Miller and Mead Treadwell.

Read more from this story HERE.